Yonhap quoted Seoul's commerce ministry as saying that exports of some South Korean steel products to the United States are impossible this year as they have already filled yearly US import quotas. The eight steel products include steel pipe piles, cold-rolled stainless steel and tool steel.
The US Customs and Border Protection has recently disclosed a set of detailed customs clearance procedures to enforce the US presidential decree on Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which is aimed at protecting US companies. According to the CBP disclosure, it is out of the question for South Korean steelmakers to export eight products out of the total 54 to the world's largest economy due to already filled import quotas.
America has set a yearly import quota of 2.63 million tons for South Korean steel products, or 70 percent of their average export volume between 2015-17.
On a customs-cleared basis, South Korean steelmakers exported products amounting to nearly 35 percent of the annual quota as of April 20 this year, though the figure varies depending on goods, according to the ministry.
Import quotas are limitations on the quantity of products that can be imported into a country during a specified period of time.
In order to protect the domestic industry, the US has also set quarterly quotas for steel imports on top of import quotas for the full year.
The CBP has imposed a ban on importing steel products exceeding 30 percent of the annual quota for a quarter in order to prevent the concentration of imports in a specific period.
Industry sources feared South Korean steelmakers may face trouble in the second quarter since their shipments could exceed the quarterly quota limit. The commerce ministry said it is in talks with the U.S. on how to meet the import quotas.